Elina Rahkonen has been CEO of European business products reseller Wulff since 30 September 2019. She joined the business with a strong M&A brief and this came to fruition with the 2021 acquisition of Staples Finland.
For more details on Wulff and Elina Rahkonen, read the following:
Big Interview with Elina Pienimäki
Cost increases hit Wulff’s margins
Wulff CEO hails “fantastic” year
Wulff expands in financial services
Wulff completes Staples combination
Deal announced for Staples Solutions’ operations in Finland
Upward momentum continues at Wulff
PPE and cleaning products drive Wulff growth
2022: Wulff Group CEO Elina Pienimäki is one of just 12 female personalities in our current Top 100. It’s a number that’s gone up significantly since we first published this list in 2000, but nevertheless a somewhat sad indictment of a still hugely male-dominated industry – and something we, at OPI,will be paying more attention to in the coming months.
Pienimäki joined the Finland-based reseller in 2019. Since then, she has certainly made her mark on the company, internationally speaking perhaps mostly so with the purchase of Staples’ Finnish operations in May 2021. Attracting much press coverage at the time, the deal was regarded as a real scoop, with Wulff paying a mere €6 million
($6 million) for the operation, including €1 million in cash.
As Pienimäki said in the Big Interview with OPI (see OPI July/August 2022, page 18): “Was it a bargain? It was the price we were willing to pay for that company and the price Cerberus Capital was willing to sell it for.”
Integration is due to be completed by the end of 2023, with Pienimäki referring to the process being ahead of schedule at present. And more M&A is highly likely in all countries where Wulff has a presence – Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Pienimäki is well placed to execute the reseller’s strong focus on further acquisitions. And they will be much needed given its ambition to reach €200 million in sales by 2026 – more than doubling current revenues of €90 million and equating to an annual growth rate of 15-20%.
In terms of customer base, there are two specific target audiences. One is served by its Contract Customers and the other by its Expertise Sales division. Contract – typically large corporate customers, government and public sector companies – is all about delivering a wide range of workplace products to customers. Expertise Sales, meanwhile, is more to do with Wulff’s active and strong sales force and a sales channel that operates locally; this division is also less transactional and more service orientated.
2019: Heikki Vienola, Chairman of European reseller Wulff, has finally handed over the reins of CEO after he stepped into the position two years ago following the departure of Kimmo Laaksonen.
Elina Pienimäki took over from Vienola on 30 September, joining from accounting and financial firm Aallon Group where she was also CEO. Her previous roles include CFO of Ahlsell and she is no stranger to Wulff, having been Group CFO of the reseller from 2014-2017.
Pienimäki takes over at a time when the company is finding its feet again in terms of strategy and financial stability. For the first six months of this year, sales were €29.2 million ($32 million), a year-on-year improvement of 4.3%, mainly due to last year’s acquisition of the Canon Business Centre printing services business in Helsinki, Finland. Although Wulff’s H1 EBIDTA figure of €900,000 was a staggering increase of 80% over the prior year, it was mainly attributed to the adoption of the IFRS 16 lease reporting standard. However, if the second half of the year retains this positivity, it should bode well heading into 2020.
Later this year, the reseller is scheduled to move from Vantaa into its new head office and logistics premises located in Finland’s second-largest city and municipality, Espoo.